Vulnerability produces vulnerability ... and it is GOOD!

Yesterday I spotted a sweet church sister in the market and we stopped to chat for a few minutes. She spoke a word of encouragement to me about my writing, sharing that she identifies with my words because they remind her that she is not "alone." It took some time to figure out why her comment meant so much to me until I realized that her comment defines why I write.
Every time the keys click under my fingertips, I am writing from my heart. 
Sometimes the words are happy, content, and joyful. Sometimes they are words of sadness and pain. Either way, they are honest.

I have been intentionally transparent for over two decades.
It started in college when I witnessed girls who would talk a hundred miles an hour about everything and nothing and then go completely mute when it came time to share personal struggles, confess sin, and admit they needed help.
I was one of them.
And I was baffled.
I witnessed the same thing when I was a young wife. When I was a mother. And I see it now, as a middle-aged woman. 
I am no longer baffled, however, because the "why" has been answered.

Exposing the unattractive, ugly, sinful parts of who we are is uncomfortable. Risky. Vulnerable.
We don't know how people will respond, so rather than risking rejection, we admit nothing, adjust our masks, and declare "I'm fine" hoping no one will peek behind the mask to see what is really there: Fear.
If I share the truth, will they still want me? If I confess sin, will I be judged and shunned? If they see me as I really am, will anyone stay?

It takes courage to confess:
"It feels like every friend I know has more than I do, and I am jealous. I want what they have."
"I have not read my Bible in three weeks. And honestly, I don't care."
"I am bitter."
"My husband doesn't meet my needs. He only cares about his own needs, and I resent him."
"Motherhood is much harder than I thought it would be. I want time for ME."
"I feel rejected. I see what everyone is doing on social media, and I am not included. I'm insecure."

But - if someone else says it first, we immediately identify with their struggle and feel a sense of relief. I AM NOT ALONE! Someone gets it! Someone else has the same fear I do! Someone else struggles with the same sin I have to fight! I am not the only one.
And all of a sudden - a ray of light appears and HOPE breaks through the walls of our hurting hearts.

We may sit quietly in our chair, identifying with her words, feeling encouraged, and thanking God for a sister who is willing to expose her heart.
We may share our own thoughts.
And sometimes, the Lord drops the barriers we have been fighting so hard to hold in place, and the pain, hurt, and weight of our burdens comes flooding through - and we let everything out, right there in front of everyone.
And the healing begins.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. James 5:16

All because one woman was willing to say, "This is who I am. This is what I am. Flawed, hopeful, hurting, joyful, despairing, weak, strong ... ME."

I want to be that woman. 
Genuine. Fearless. Truthful. REAL.
Whether I am in the biggest spiritual battle of my life, or standing on the mountaintop shouting praises to God ... I want to be transparent. Vulnerable. Sincere. 

I used to be the girl who went mute when it was time to share. I was afraid, insecure, and worried about what people would think of me. I learned how to share something to give the allusion I was sharing everything. I learned how to hide. Deflect. Avoid.
And then, the Lord stepped in. Actually, He STOMPED in wearing thick, hard military boots, kicking down and smashing every piece of the wall I had painstakingly built to protect myself until there was not one brick left whole.
It was an incredibly difficult moment.
And it was a defining moment.

I have tried to rebuild that wall many times, and every single time I tried, the Lord showed up in His boots to destroy whatever part of the new wall I had managed to slap together.
After awhile, I got tired of rebuilding, so I dumped the bucket of pre-mixed mortar and tossed the stack of bricks.
But, there is always a supply store available where I can purchase materials if I want them.
So - I write.
If I expose my heart willingly, knowing rejection is possible, knowing everyone will not understand or agree, there is no reason to buy supplies - because there is no need for a wall!
Walls are built for protection, privacy, or hiding. And the truth is, I don't need self-made walls because I already have access to a strong tower that provides all of my security, safety, and strength.
My strong tower is the LORD.

And maybe - just maybe - if I keep sharing my own struggles, challenges, weaknesses, and sin, someone else will see my heart exposed on the bright, white page, be willing to peek inside of the strong tower to see how safe and sure God is, and then, because she was encouraged by my story, she will feel safe enough ...
to share her own.

I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." 
Proverb 18:10